Smith Hotels

From the suitcase of Burcu Öztürkler

Get out your travel diaries. This November, three contemporary art events collide in seaside Istanbul: the ninth Contemporary Istanbul, second Istanbul Design Biennial, and first Art Istanbul Week. Who better in this stylish art city to talk travel with than Contemporary Istanbul’s stylish fair coordinator?

Burcu Öztürkler Fair Coordinator, Contemporary Istanbul
Based in Istanbul

Last trip Bozcaada, a beautiful little island in the Aegean, off the Turkish coast.

Next trip New York, to visit my best friend

First thing you do when you check into a hotel Unpack, make my bags disappear and settle in as if it were my own house.

You never leave home without… my earphones

You always return home with… some extra tote bags

Best souvenir SuperStudio29’s jute bag from a design store called Get Get Get in Split, Croatia. It’s from the ‘Croatia: Between You and EU’ backpack series, which has political jokes about how people misunderstand Croatia. Mine says: ‘far from Russia, close to Italy.’

Quintessential Istanbul Istanbul is very famous for its hans [historic roadside inns better known in English as caravanserai], especially in the Old Town. Although most of them are used by merchants, traditional small factories and craftsmen, you can take a tour via most tour agencies. But even if you can’t take a tour, drop by Büyük Valide Han in Tahtakale. If you give some coins to the tea man he will take you to the dome of the han so you can enjoy the view of the neighborhoods of Pera, Karaköy and Galata from the top of an unusual place.

Favourite destination Croatia is my all-time favorite: Dalmatian coast, beaches, weather, people, beers and, plus, it’s the meeting point for all the backpackers from New Zealand, Australia, America, South America and all the yachting Europeans.

Best contemporary art scene Amsterdam and Berlin; both are hubs for exhibitions of young artists, presented by established and emerging galleries, as well as artists’ initiatives, project spaces and dynamic art centers.

Favourite museum I really like the shows right now at the Palais De Tokyo, in Paris, and the Hamburger Bahnhof, in Berlin. And I always find MACBA: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona relaxing and inviting.

Worst travel experience Earlier this year, in London, I went to the wrong airport for my return flight to Istanbul.

Favourite hotel Splendid Palas at Büyükada. Büyükada is the largest of Istanbul’s nine Princes Islands and the grand-dame hotel has been there since 1908.

Reporting by Rachel Friedman

Narcissa, the Standard East Village's acclaimed restaurant, recently started serving lunch.
We took one for the team (tough life, but someone’s got to do it) and tested it out over an editorial power lunch. A few glasses of rosé, grilled baby squid, peach-and-pistachio salad, tuna tartare, rotisserie branzino and seared scallops later – in the breezy, quiet garden, naturally – and we can safely say that your stomach and tastebuds are in the most competent of hands. We could lounge and snack in that garden for hours. High-res

Narcissa, the Standard East Village's acclaimed restaurant, recently started serving lunch.

We took one for the team (tough life, but someone’s got to do it) and tested it out over an editorial power lunch. A few glasses of rosé, grilled baby squid, peach-and-pistachio salad, tuna tartare, rotisserie branzino and seared scallops later – in the breezy, quiet garden, naturally – and we can safely say that your stomach and tastebuds are in the most competent of hands. We could lounge and snack in that garden for hours.

Get out your notebooks and write this one down: on your next New York jaunt, plan to visit Huertas, the Spanish-Basque restaurant and pintxos bar that opened this spring in the East Village.
Not only is the food top-notch and authentic in that ‘you’re sure I’m not actually in Spain?’ sort of way – Chef Jonah Miller spent several months in Northern Spain to get the food and atmosphere perfect – but the drinks menu is filled with the kind of bottles you rarely find outside Spain. Case in point: that Primitivo Quiles vermouth pictured above. After your New York editors and our Mr Smiths sampled the house vermouth (on tap, à la Español), sidra (Spanish cider), txakoli (Basque white wine) and two different kinds of sherry, our new friends generously let us finish their last bottle of this legendary vermouth.
Swing by the bar for more casual passed pintxos, like you might in the Basque Country; on Tuesdays, they have $1 pintxos all evening, so you can try lots of tasty bites of croquetas and chorizo. Or make a reservation for the five-course Menú del Día. Either way, it’s a pretty good substitute for a trip to Spain – and one of NYC’s hottest dinner spots of the moment. High-res

Get out your notebooks and write this one down: on your next New York jaunt, plan to visit Huertas, the Spanish-Basque restaurant and pintxos bar that opened this spring in the East Village.

Not only is the food top-notch and authentic in that ‘you’re sure I’m not actually in Spain?’ sort of way – Chef Jonah Miller spent several months in Northern Spain to get the food and atmosphere perfect – but the drinks menu is filled with the kind of bottles you rarely find outside Spain. Case in point: that Primitivo Quiles vermouth pictured above. After your New York editors and our Mr Smiths sampled the house vermouth (on tap, à la Español), sidra (Spanish cider), txakoli (Basque white wine) and two different kinds of sherry, our new friends generously let us finish their last bottle of this legendary vermouth.

Swing by the bar for more casual passed pintxos, like you might in the Basque Country; on Tuesdays, they have $1 pintxos all evening, so you can try lots of tasty bites of croquetas and chorizo. Or make a reservation for the five-course Menú del Día. Either way, it’s a pretty good substitute for a trip to Spain – and one of NYC’s hottest dinner spots of the moment.

Armchair travel, anyone? It’s not our preferred method of escape, but it certainly helps to inform and inspire where we might wander off to next. Which is why we love the 24 Best Travelers on Instagram list just out from our friends at Fathom. Well-researched and compelling, it makes us want to follow every one of the travelers… quite literally. 
(Photo by Faisal Al Fouzan @faisalthef) High-res

Armchair travel, anyone? It’s not our preferred method of escape, but it certainly helps to inform and inspire where we might wander off to next. Which is why we love the 24 Best Travelers on Instagram list just out from our friends at Fathom. Well-researched and compelling, it makes us want to follow every one of the travelers… quite literally. 

(Photo by Faisal Al Fouzan @faisalthef)

Escape route: New York Fashion Week

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Get out your biggest sunglasses, because you’re going to fashion week. Or, better yet, leave those shades at home, because we’re hooking you up with stay ‘n’ shop offers from New York City’s hottest hotels and most glamorous designer stores.

So, you can rest your head at the Surrey and spend your afternoon at a styling session at Vince's Madison Avenue shop. Or, downtown, hob-nob with models and designers at Soho House by night and get discounts at Theory and Helmut Lang by day. It’s up to you to snag the fashion week invites, but we’ve got the outfits and accommodations covered.

And even if runways aren’t your style, most of these offers are available until the end of the year. Talk about VIP.

Catching breakers is one of our favourite summer pastimes and, right now, we’re yearning to paddle out with the best of ‘em…. Don’t tell us autumn’s just around the corner – from a local’s haven on the Long Island shore to coastal Pacific hotspots, we know plenty of spots for a late-summer surfing getaway for beginners and experts alike. Pack your gear or rent a board and embrace the surf culture – chill out, work on your golden tan and hang 10.  

The Surf Lodge Montauk, New York 
Past the Hamptons, at the far edge of Long Island, the Surf Lodge capitalizes on its location both for its laid-back, surfer-cool atmosphere, but also to attract surf fanatics – beginners can get some one-on-one time on the waves with resident pro Dustin Franks.

Tower23 San Diego, California
We expect two things to be in a beachfront SoCal hotel’s backyard: unobstructed ocean views and some of the world’s best surfing. Tower23 has both, and the latter includes the San Diego Surfing School, making it incredibly easy to book a lesson and catch a wave. 

The Modern Honolulu, Hawaii 
Considering the myriad surf schools here, it’s hard not to believe everyone in Hawaii surfs. Take your pick between a lesson away from the crowds with Hans Hedemann Surf School or an all-day journey including a jeep ride, hiking, and surfing with Ty Gurney’s Surf School. For an extra adventure, drive down the coast to learn to surf from professional firefighters at the Hawaiian Fire Surf School.

Harmony Hotel Costa Rica  
Surf the swells in Playa Guiones, one of Costa Rica’s most picturesque beaches, which happens to be just outside the hotel’s front door.  The temperate ocean’s long breaks are perfect for newcomers; you’ll have time to set, stand up and ride with the help of the hotel’s expert instructors.

Oxygen Jungle Villas Costa Rica
Not your first rodeo on the waves? More experienced surfers might be familiar with the breakers at Dominical, a renowned Costa Rican surf spot about a half-hour drive from the hotel. Dominical Surf Adventures offers two-hour lessons for all levels, as well as a multi-day surf camp. 

Victoria’s at Wategos Byron Bay, Australia
In surfer town Byron Bay, you’d be hard-pressed not to go surfing. We especially love Victoria’s for its location; you’re steps away from Wategos Beach where the hotel can arrange private lessons and after a grueling day in the water the luxe accommodations will be calling your name.

by Jennifer Trattler

It’s no secret that we have a thing for hotel pools, so what better way to celebrate summer here at our New York office than with a fête at one of our most glamorous NYC hotel pools?

We staked out a waterside spot on the loungers at McCarren Hotel's popular pool – open to guests for free and sun-seeking Williamsburg locals for a fee – and ordered up plenty of bottles of rosé, platters of ice cream sandwiches and bowls of guacamole. And, of course, we took a dip or two in the warm saltwater.

Bronzed and pleasantly sun-tired, we then headed up to the penthouse for some prime Manhattan skyline views – and some burgers and beers as we watched the sunset.

A perfect New York summer day, if we do say so ourselves.

Where can one go for an expertly mixed Manhattan? Look up – 29 stories up – high above the city to The Roof at the Viceroy New York hotel. A discerning critic from the New Yorker agreed the take on the iconic cocktail (their version: a blend of bourbon, vermouth and brandied cherries) at this sleek indoor/outdoor drinks den is worth seeking out. And those Midtown and Central Park views aren’t so bad, either… High-res

Where can one go for an expertly mixed Manhattan? Look up – 29 stories up – high above the city to The Roof at the Viceroy New York hotel. A discerning critic from the New Yorker agreed the take on the iconic cocktail (their version: a blend of bourbon, vermouth and brandied cherries) at this sleek indoor/outdoor drinks den is worth seeking out. And those Midtown and Central Park views aren’t so bad, either…